We were kindly invited to Microsoft’s campus in Reading, UK last Monday where we were able to sit down with folk from the Developer and Platform Evangelist (DPE) team to see exactly what the company is doing to bring content to the Windows and Windows Phone platforms, as well as how we can work with said personnel to cover highlighted content you may have not been aware existed.
So what exactly does this department do? Located in Building 2 at the Reading campus, this tight group of incredible talent works with businesses and developers to introduce not only official apps that are missing on the stores (think 4OD among others), but to market and effectively push said content to consumers.
It's pleasantly surprising to see just how much resources Microsoft is putting aside for said tasks.
The overall setup is relaxed, yet productive. An Xbox One setup join numerous sitting areas located around the department for general talk and focus time, while meetings galore take place in designated rooms. Whether it be attracting business to Microsoft services (Bing, etc.) or working with external companies to develop quality apps for you all to enjoy, there’s always seemingly something going on.
4oD is just one of the apps Microsoft has worked hard at getting on Windows Phone.
While this team focuses on content and marketing campaigns for the UK, the effect is felt throughout the Windows Phone community as brand development increases and more official apps are loaded on Windows. As well as the DPE department, you then have the rest of the Microsoft in Reading – all five buildings of it. We quickly browsed through each one to reveal an almost self-sustaining town with a medical centre among other facilities to boot.
We enjoyed some rather in-depth talks covering multiple topics affecting both Windows and Windows Phone. What's clear from this department alone is they're not only after the content consumers demand, which is already available on competitor platforms. The company also has its sights on resident developers, to provide them with the means to build awesome content.
UK Developers: Microsoft wants you
As noted above, it's not all about consumers and quality apps from big brands. Microsoft is also working hard at providing tools and services available to developers to get started with Windows Phone and Windows content creation. If you're new to either platform, there's a superb new resource available for you to get started with - www.microsoft.com/en-gb/developers.
Microsoft is slowly migrating content from Ubelly, the UK MSDN blog and UK Student blog over the course of the next month. While TechNet will remain (for now), there's now a centralised location for everything you require. And if you're a student looking to create some awesome apps for Microsoft platforms, there's always the DreamSpark (www.dreamspark.com) program, which is worth looking into.
DreamSpark provides access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes. The goal is to give students developer and design tools at no cost to get a head start into the competitive industry. We've met with developers who have passed through this program and we'd strongly urge you to check out what's available should you be eligible.
We’ll be able to share details with you soon as to how we’ll be working with Microsoft UK in the future. This will relate to official app announcements, campaigns, sweet deals and other promotions that will be of interest to you all. I’d like to throw a big thank you to the DPE team at Microsoft for the invitation and showing us around the buildings.
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